Now is a great time to get your high-efficiency furnace tuned up for winter heating. Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating offers these tips to help you get ready for the colder fall weather.
High efficiency furnaces typically take in fresh air and exhaust to the outside. High efficiency furnaces can be vented through pipes at or near the foundation level of your home. If your furnace vents horizontally through the foundation wall of your home, it’s very important to keep these pipes clear of any debris that may have accumulated during the summer or early fall. This can include spider webs or other small nests, leaves and other organic matter.
When you attempt to remove debris, be sure you don’t accidentally push the material further into the pipe! Most organic materials can be removed manually. Dry organics like leaves and webs can also be removed with a shop vacuum. Remove any weeds, branches or overgrowth within several feet of either port to ensure proper airflow to and from the furnace. Don’t cover the ports or store any materials around them, either. Stored materials can trap leaves and promote the collection of snow and ice around the intake and exhaust ports.
Furnace exhaust gases can be corrosive. Examine the wall space around a horizontal exhaust pipe for signs of damage, which might include discoloration or surface pitting. This kind of damage may indicate that your furnace isn’t venting properly, and it is important to remedy this immediately. Consult with Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating , and we can replace your existing vent or revent your furnace if necessary.
During the heating cycle, some moisture will condense inside the pipes and on the heat exchanger. The intake and exhaust ports are constructed to allow this water to run back to the furnace to drain. It’s possible for condensate to freeze in long pipe runs, potentially damaging the exhaust port pipe and enabling carbon monoxide and other harmful gases to enter the home. Insulating the pipes can provide some additional thermal protection, but even pipes that have been insulated should be inspected for cracks or other signs of damage.
The condensate runs to a household drain through a special drainpipe, which can also freeze. If the condensate drainpipe freezes, your furnace will shut down. Check your condensate drain to ensure that it is free flowing. If the drain appears to be clogged, contact Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating and we’ll clear the condensate drain. If your furnace operates in an unheated space, you may want to insulate the condensate drainpipe to ensure uninterrupted operation.
Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating offers heating inspections and tune-ups. Contact us at (617) 288-2911 to schedule your appointment.